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Teenage Pedestrian Killed in Early Morning Accident in LA

crosswalkA 16-year-old on her way to school was struck and killed by a motorist early in the morning on October 17. The teenage girl was crossing a street in South Los Angeles, when an SUV hit her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident victim was identified later in the day at Whitney Rivas, a junior at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. Her boyfriend, Eduardo Castaneda, also a junior at the school, told CBS Los Angeles he was waiting for her that morning at a bench where they usually meet, but Rivas never arrived. He heard about the accident from Rivas’ mother later that day.

The accident occurred at Broadway and 104th street around 6:20 on Monday morning. Los Angeles police told ABC 7 Rivas was walking in the crosswalk when she was struck by a red Jeep. Rivas’ body was carried by the vehicle for several yards before she was thrown off. The driver of the Jeep was the one to call for emergency assistance and police officials say he is cooperating fully with the investigation.

Police are now seeking cameras in the area and spoke to witnesses at the scene to determine who had the right of way at the time of the accident. It appears the driver had a green light at the time of the collision and that dark conditions and slick roads may have contributed to the crash. Investigators are also trying to determine if Rivas might have been listening to music or on her phone at the time of the accident.

Pedestrian injuries in Los Angeles

Tragically, pedestrian accidents are nothing new in California. In fact, a report from the Los Angeles Times last year found that the state continued to lead the nation in the highest number of pedestrians killed in 2014. During both 2013 and 2014, around 700 Californians were killed in pedestrian accidents throughout each of those years. While the numbers did not appear to be increasing, concerns were raised over why they were not decreasing in light of additional education and enhanced auto safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. Another 150,000 sought treatment for injuries related to pedestrian accidents during that year. Factors that impact these accidents, according to the NHTSA, include the age and location of the pedestrian, whether alcohol was involved or whether the driver was distracted in some way at the time of the crash.

Liability in pedestrian accidents

Victims of pedestrian accidents may face catastrophic injuries that directly impact their ability to work and care for their families after the accident. In other cases, such as this recent report, the accident may take the life of the pedestrian, leaving family members to deal with the loss of their loved one. In either situation, the financial strain, coupled with the emotional and physical challenges of the event, can make it difficult for accident victims and their families get back on their feet.

When the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be liable for the accident, that individual may also be responsible for paying the accident victim damages for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. Professional legal assistance is vital in these cases to ensure victims receive rightful compensation.

The Ellis Injury Law Firm offers skilled legal advice for anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident. To speak with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-INJURED to arrange a free case review.

Additional Resources:

  1. CBS Los Angeles, 16-Year-Old Girl Fatally Struck by Car While Crossing Street in South LA, http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/10/17/16-year-old-girl-fatally-struck-by-car-while-crossing-street-in-south-la/
  2. ABC 7, 16-Year-Old Girl Walking to School Struck, Killed in South LA, http://abc7.com/news/16-year-old-girl-walking-to-school-struck-killed-in-south-la/1560020/
  3. KTLA 5, Girl, 16, Fatally Struck While Walking across Street in South LA, http://ktla.com/2016/10/17/girl-16-fatally-struck-while-walking-across-street-in-south-l-a/
  4. Los Angeles Times, California Leads Nation in Pedestrian Deaths – Again, http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-california-pedestrian-deaths-20150226-story.html
  5. The National Law Review, Pedestrian Accident Injury Statistics, http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pedestrian-accident-injury-statistics